World Health Organization (WHO) defines “youths” as age group of 15 to 24 years, and are characterized by significant physiological, psychological and social changes that place their life at high risk. Youth who initiate sexual activity earlier get exposed to risks such as sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy, at a time when their developmental status places them at a disadvantage in the assessment and management of these risks. The objective of this research was to assess the prevalence and factors associated with risk of sexual behavior among youths in Haramaya Secondary and Preparatory School. Institutional based cross-sectional study was conducted. Simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample of 394 participants. A structured, pretested and self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Collected data was entered and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Crude and adjusted odds ratio with its confidence interval was used as measure of association and statistical significance was declared at P<0.05. Among 363 school youths who completed the questionnaire, 134 (36.9%) were sexually active and more than quarter (25.3%) of the youth had engaged in risky sexual behavior. Living arrangement, substance use, watching pornographic movie, age at sex doubt, peer influence and perceived family control were predictors of risky sexual behavior. This study revealed that risky sexual practice of the study area was relatively high among the respondents. The school, local health bureau and stakeholders should work together to address the identified risky behaviors with particular focus on behaviour change communication.
Key words: Risky sexual behavior, youth, sexually active, sexually transmitted diseases.
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